Wayland-Cohocton football players put priority on prayer - Catholic Courier

Wayland-Cohocton football players put priority on prayer

The sudden commotion outside is enough to rouse Barb Shafer from her desk on an otherwise quiet Friday afternoon.

According to Shafer, who serves as youth-ministry coordinator at Holy Family Parish, a “little known ritual” occurs on game days during the Wayland-Cohocton High School football season. Scores of players descend upon Wayland’s St. Joseph Church, located next to the parish offices.

“They come zooming into the parking lot, whooping and carrying on as teenage boys can only do. Then they disappear into the church. And lo and behold, they are not only on their way to exercise and practice for the upcoming game, but they are exercising and practicing their faith!” Shafer recounted in the Sept. 14 parish bulletin article titled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Football Game.”

“After what seemed like an eternity for young men to be spending in prayer, they emerged. And nearly as noisily as they had appeared, they zoomed off for their next destination,” she added.

Shafer noted that by all appearances, the public-school athletes arrange this weekly commitment on their own, regardless of whether they’re Catholic or not.

“We don’t know who reminds the young men each year that this is the thing to do on Fridays, but it has been happening for years. And I have to say it thrills me. As a parent and youth minister, my desire is to see kids exercising and practicing their faith unprompted by adults, bringing their friends along in the process,” she wrote.

Shafer added that she was tempted to go inside the church to observe the athletes in prayer, “but that is the other thing I have slowly learned over the years. Get out of the way, Barb, and let the Holy Spirit do what was started by God anyway.”

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